The day I decided to confess my love was the same day that he died.
I had written a note to him. It said everything that was inside my heart. All of my hopes. All of my desires. I had written and rewritten it so many times. I had started it the first day I saw him.
But I was too uncertain.
I never could find the right moment, the right amount of courage and oomph! to just get up and spill my soul to him. How does a person even do that? When is the right moment? How do you go up to someone and say, “I like you” or more accurately “I love you”.
Because the truth is there’s no way of knowing if they even know that you exist. Because you could tell them “I love you” and get a blank stare of “Who are you?” in return.
Because the sting of rejection is too much to dare.
But that day…
I woke up and I knew that I couldn’t keep it inside me a minute longer. I had to tell him. I had to speak up before it was all too late.
I quickly did my morning routine.
I grabbed my note.
I wouldn’t have to say anything. That was the beautiful part. I could just hand him my heart all written down for him to see and read and understand.
Maybe he would reject me. It was at least a 50/50 chance, 60/40 at the very worst.
But I had to do it.
I needed to do it.
I would catch him between classes.
I would hand him the note and, for better or worse, he would finally know.
The bus came and I got on.
He wasn’t there. Not a big deal. We never wound up on the same bus.
But it was okay.
I’d see him at school.
In between classes.
He would read my note.
Or he would crumple it up and throw it away.
Either way, I would give him my note. The next step was up to him.
I tried to stay cool and calm, but I was dying all throughout my nervous system. Just dying all over. Why was this bus driving so slowly? Why couldn’t we get to school faster?
I needed the bus to go faster.
I wanted to get there now!
It only took us fifty-nine eternities, but we reached our destination.
I pushed and shoved through everyone else.
Forget about waiting for that opportune break in between classes. I was going to catch him as soon as he got off the bus.
He should be on the second bus.
He always arrived on the second bus. I know, because I know these things.
But the second bus was late.
The other kids swarmed past me, laden down with book bags and assorted levels of angst.
I stood outside.
I stood still.
I stood there, waiting for the second bus to arrive.
It never came.
I tightened my grip on my note. It wrinkled and crinkled.
The bus never arrived.
There had been an accident. Some yahoo decided to disregard the rules of the road.
Some yahoo in a semi-trailer truck.
There were a lot of injuries.
He was the only fatality. He was the only one who died.
He was dead and I never got the chance to tell him.
They sent us home early that day. Everyone was crying too much to think about math and science and stupid school stuff like that.
I went home.
My note wrinkled and crinkled in my hand.
My mom and dad tried to console me, but their words sailed high over my head.
He was dead.
Before I could give my note to him.
Before I could even see him one last time, poof!
He was gone.
He was dead.
So, what was I supposed to do? His death didn’t make my feelings just shut off. I couldn’t stop liking him just because he was dead.
What was I supposed to do with those feelings?
What was I supposed to do with my note?
The house was too warm.
The house made me feel all squished and warm and confined. I needed to get out. I needed to breathe. Oh, I needed to breathe.
I ran outside.
I ran blindly. My breath was all stuck and pinched up in my chest. My heart wasn’t beating right. I was fairly certain that I was going to pass out in mid-stride. But that didn’t slow me down.
That didn’t stop me.
I ran to my favorite spot. My feet ran there seemingly on their own. And I was there.
Just like that, I was there.
A small canyon just outside the forest. No one else knew about it. It was my own special place. The echoes there were amazing.
I stopped just outside the forest and let loose with a scream that would have freaked out my parents if they had heard me. I broke down and the canyon broke down with me.
Life was unfair.
Life was stupid and mean and rotten.
Why did this have to happen? Why did it have to happen today?
Why did it have to be today?
Of all of the days on the calendar, why today? Why not yesterday? Why not fifty-eight yesterdays ago?
My note was still in my hand.
I would never be able to read it to him. He would never be able to hear all of my thoughts and feelings and that was rotten and stunk like garbage.
I uncrinkled my note.
If he were here with me.
If only he were here with me, I wouldn’t hand him a note. I would speak. I would march boldly into that gauntlet and let the blows to my ego fly.
I looked down at my hopeful, nervous words. The words I had written when he was still alive.
If he were here…
Maybe he was.
He was dead.
Maybe he was a ghost.
Maybe he would hear me.
His rejection could no longer sting me.
I cleared my throat and read my note out loud.
The canyon echoed my words.
The canyon echoed my desires.